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'Playing in PL Primary Stars tournament will be magical'

By Mark Orlovac 13 Jun 2024
Premier League Primary Stars, Lexi, Brighton

Captain of Brighton's Southover School explains what taking part in Thursday's tournament will mean to her team

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Southover CofE Primary School in Lewes are one of the lucky teams from across England and Wales taking to the pitch at Brentford's Gtech Community Stadium this week for the latest Premier League Primary Stars football tournament.

The tournament is a culmination of years of hard work on the pitch by the players and staff and will be a memorable occasion for the children as they come to the end of their time at junior school.

Playing in a team has led to the girls forming strong bonds and has helped three players relatively new to the school, Sofija, from Croatia, and Alisa and Vera, who joined the school as a result of the conflict in Ukraine, find a sense of community and security in the UK.

Southover's captain Lexi explains what impact being a part of this team and the PL Primary Stars football tournament has had on her and her friends.

"This team means everything. The friendships we've made together have grown and grown. We've got such good memories from playing tournaments, we've always stayed together whether we're winning or losing.

"When Vera and Alisa came to the school from Ukraine, we encouraged them to play football. 

"We wanted to make them feel welcome. They would join in and then we'd do winter football together in the gym. We've built a team from this. That's the same story as with Sofija. All three of them were born to play football.

"It makes me feel really proud of all of us. I can't believe how we've got this far and the friendships we've made from this.

"The friendships are really comforting. They are my closest friends in the class and we see each other out of school too.

"The Premier League Primary Stars qualifying final was really close. We had shots, the other team had shots, I hit the crossbar twice; it was really tense. And then it went to penalties.

"When we realised we had qualified, we were just in shock and amazement. We were so happy, we couldn't believe it. We were hugging and high-fiving each other.

"When we were told where we were playing we were amazed. We're about to play on a pitch that loads of famous football stars have played on and it's us, a small girls team from a small town, which is going to do the same. It makes me feel so proud, so happy; all the good emotions mixed together.

"Not many people can say they have played at a Premier League stadium. It's going to be so fun. We are so thankful. We'll remember this always.

"No matter what happens, we're going to be together as a team. We win together and we lose together. It will bond us even more.

"Without friendship on a team, it's not fun. We wouldn't have made it this far if we weren't friends.

"Playing at Brentford is going to be so magical. I just can't believe it. We're going to enjoy the moment.

"I'm buzzing inside. I've been thinking about it so much.

"When I walk out at the stadium I'll just be thinking, how am I here? I won't believe it. But I'll also be thinking, 'we can do this.'"

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